Tag Archives: pearl strands

The Jewelry Insider

February 16, 2011

Donna Karan, Fall 2011 RTW

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is in full swing in the Big Apple this week, and the jewelry hunting has been slow-going. In all fairness, ready-to-wear collections (vs. couture shows) aren’t usually jumping with jewels – the past few years of blinged out bangle-wear and statement-makers were one big exception.

Now that we’re headed back toward minimal, sleek looks – the jewelry is following suit with a pretty pendant here a well-placed bracelet there – and the surprise of the season: pearls.

Donna Karan

Like Giorgio Armani did with gemstones in Paris earlier this year, Donna Karan is doing with pearls for her Fall 2011 RTW line. Namely, designing their entire collection around a jewelry style.

Style.com reports:

“Donna Karan named her Fall collection Pearls of Wisdom and recruited Erickson Beamon to design the pearl necklaces that accompanied all the looks and informed the show’s all-neutral palette.”

Donna Karan

This isn’t just good news for Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Obama and the rest of the DC ladies who lunch. Pearl strands are the perfect complement to any ensemble, and designers are getting creative with both shapes and colors this year.

I loved this Lorraine Schwartz pearl cuff spotted on singer/dancer, Mya at the Grammy’s, for example.

Lorraine Schwartz cuff on singer, Mya

And here’s a unique ‘twist’ on a classic from JewelClub’s sample sale that’s a wise choice for both the fashion-forward and the budget-conscious at only $67.60 (down from $199).

While polka dots (Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg) and prairie-wear (Rodarte) were the two big clothing trends to emerge so far, I’m going to declare 2011 the “Year of the Pearl”.

Marc Jacobs
Diane von Furstenberg

What does the jewelry-hound peanut gallery think? Am I on to something? Or is this just a limited runway interpretation of an old classic?

Tony Curtis: From Pants Suits to Pearl Strands

Diamonds may have been Marilyn Monroe’s best friend, but pearls were the pretty companion of Tony Curtis in their iconic film “Some Like It Hot” – a movie masterpiece that I’m sure many will revisit now that the last living member of the film’s trio has passed away.

For the uninitiated: “Some Like It Hot,” is a1959 film in which Curtis and Jack Lemmon played small-time jazz musicians who witnessed the St. Valentine’s Day massacre in Chicago and, pursued by gangsters, posed as women to escape with an all-female jazz band bound for Miami (Marilyn Monroe, included).

Hi-jinks ensue.

Oscar-winning costume designer, Orry Kelly, turned Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis into ‘Josephine’ and ‘Daphne’ using all the well-known fashion secrets drag queens the world over still use today: lots of neck scarves, long gloves, fun hats  – and yes – that ubiquitous symbol of understated femininity: pearls.

Pearl jewelry is generally thought of as the go-to gem when women want that ‘conservative yet classic’ look. Politicians and first wives love pearls for their sartorial safety, and they’re always a Mother’s Day crowd pleaser.

But Tony Curtis and his partner in crime brought the category to a, shall we say, ‘new’ audience – making everything from pearl-drop earrings to long strands work in ways the jewelry world never thought possible.

In other words: Clothes may make the man – but classic pearls create the cross-dresser.

Tony Curtis, R.I.P.  Here’s to you. Who’s like you? Damn few.

Pearl Education: How Long is Long? Pearl Strand Lengths

Important pearls of wisdom about various pearl strand lengths – from short choker pearls to pearls that wrap around and around and around….

Pearl necklaces come in five basic lengths: Choker, Princess, Matinee, Opera and Rope. You may have heard of some of the names but probably have no idea how long each is and, more importantly, how it sits on the neck and below.

Choker – 16 in

The pearl choker is the shortest length circling the neck. While a pearl choker can be worn with almost any neckline and looks great with every style, from casual to formal, make sure it doesn’t swallow the neck. Pearl chokers draw attention to the neck but if you have a particularly short or long neck, the attention should be drawn away from the neck to the shoulder line or below. As such, stay away from chokers. For everyone else, a choker is great classic, suitable for every occasion.

Princess – 18 in

A princess strand falls slightly below the neckline and compliments every neck-style from high to low. It’s great for office-wear as its length sits just above a blouse neckline and won’t be hidden like longer lengths.

Matinee – 24 in

The Matinee strand is most popular for formal occasions and is the perfect length for any little black dress event. It’s also the best length for those who are well endowed in the chest region as it highlights the neck and shoulders finishing just above the cleavage.

Opera – 32 in

Falling just below the bustline, the Opera strand is great for eveningwear and compliments every body shape. For less formal occasions, it can be doubled over and worn as a twin choker ? a true day into night piece.

Rope – 46 in

If it’s versatility you’re after, then a pearl rope is the style for you. By itself the strand generally falls somewhere around the waistline and is perfect for those that like to stand out from the crowd. Its length means you can play with styles from triple, or quadruple rows of a choker, to doubling it as Princess and Opera style together. Or try simply knotting it for a chic look that’s perfect with everything from jeans and a tee shirt to an elegant evening gown.

Shop Pearl Jewelry

Learn More About Pearls

The Jewelry Insider

November 27, 2009

Black Friday deals are taking the country by storm this morning, and I’ve got the best way to get the most bang for your buck – without waking up at dawn and putting on your body armor.

JewelClub – my favorite Friends and Family jewelry site – is offering 25% off their WHOLESALE prices on 12 select items that’ll make anyone on your list jump for joy.

These are their lowest prices all year – so the sale won’t last long (only from today through Cyber Monday – November 30th).

So, check it:

This 1.5 carat diamond anniversary ring retailed at $5129. JewelClub normally offers it for $1380.47 but with the Black Friday Blowout discount it’s listed at only $1035. I’m not good at math, but that looks like over $4,000 (YES, THREE ZEROS) off the original price.


And that’s just the beginning. Get $800 diamond studs for under $200. A cultured Akoya (yes, Akoya) pearl strand for over $6,000 off (!!), a created ruby ensemble for under $50, a sapphire ring for over $500 off retail. You have to see to believe.

So visit JewelClub by clicking here, enter the secret code INSIDER and tick off the names on your shopping list with a smile on your face, a boost to your wallet – all without leaving your leftovers.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, jewelry hounds!

The Jewelry Insider

August 14, 2009

Woodstock may be turning 40, but the jewelry it inspired still lives on. Jewelry.com reports today that the Boho Chic stylings of Nicole Richie and Kate Hudson evolved from the muddy flats of that Woodstock farm ‘lo those many years ago – and they’ve got a bevy of hippie chick styles in their coffers to prove it.

But with buttoned-up Mad Men 60s fashion taking the media by storm these days, many of us forget that there was quite a different fashion revolution going on at the same time. Bell bottoms, roach clips, peasant-wear and beads, beads, beads were as prevalent as sweater sets, pearls, and tailored suits.

Which 60s-era style do you prefer? The pendants, pearl strands, and vintage brooches of the three-martini lunch era? Or the layered necklace, love bead, bangled look of Janis Joplin and her acolytes?

I’m torn. I’ve lived in Manhattan for years – so consider myself a New Yorker at heart, but I’ve also spent enough time in California to own a pair of Birkenstocks and go to more than a few Grateful Dead shows before Jerry Garcia became the inspiration for an ice cream flavor.

What’s your preference for the jewelry style of this era? Grace Kelly glam? Or Hippie Chick chic? Or are you content to leave the 60s well in the past where it belongs?

Weigh in!

The Jewelry Insider

April 3, 2009

The highly anticipated fashion showdown between the world’s most stylish first ladies went down today as our Divine Mrs. O and France’s Carla Bruni-Sarkozy finally met face-to-face.(I love that she hyphenated even though he’s a leader of the free world). The French model and chanteuse wore a subdued but classy gray Dior trench and Mighty Michelle rocked it in a fuchsia poppy coat by Thakoon. Both had power bow necklines. Coincidence? You make the call. Bruni-Sarkozy was interviewed inside the Michelle Obama issue of Vogue in March, telling the magazine that she hates makeup, clothes and jewelry (not a sparkle could be found on her today from what I could tell), but she has emerged as France’s fashion icon despite it all. And while Bruni-Sarkozy is often spotted in haute couture frocks, Obama likes to mix it up with commoner clothes to keep things real. Her color choice today was a massive improvement over the strange teal and brown number she wore yesterday – and the cut couldn’t be more sophisticated. And she finally gave that pearl strand a break, as she chose to go sans jewelry for her afternoon activities in Strasbourg. What do you think of our First Lady’s fashion so far? Too flashy or a much needed splash of color?

The Jewelry Insider

April 1, 2009

The anarchists may be protesting, but the fashion police have nothing to worry about in London as our fab First Lady proves she can she can travel abroad in high style.

The divine Mrs. Michelle took off for London yesterday wearing an ivory Thakoon coat and a signature brooch (which I’ve been missing of late). Ever the fashion plate, she changed – on the plane of course(!) – into a chartreuse Jason Wu dress to greet her legions of fans upon arrival across the pond.

This morning brought breakfast with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and wife, Sarah, and later a visit to Maggie’s Cancer Care Center. Maybe the bloody protestors of the G20 Summit influenced Obama’s downshift from designer duds to J Crew garb – but she emerged this morning in a J Crew bejeweled cardigan and a mint green jacquard pencil skirt accented with another old friend – the pearl strand – and a series of layered bangles.

When in Rome, right?

The cardigan, by the way, is already sold out in case you’re wondering.

Later today, our First Lady is scheduled to have tea and cucumber sandwiches with Queen Elizabeth herself. Will she go for another outfit change (I’m pulling for a big hat, Michelle. Bring it!) or will she J Crew her way to Buckingham Palace?

Stay tuned!

The Jewelry Insider

February 5, 2009

I know you might be doing something important like finding a cure for cancer, performing brain surgery or building habitats for humanity, but your life won’t be complete without knowing that Keyshia Cole, Ron Fair and Manny Halley hosted a Vanity Fair and Krug dinner party yesterday at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood – and the fashions were off the chain.

Newlyweds Fergie and Josh Duhamel attended along with Nicky and Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Rapper Taboo, Akon and more. Marriage must agree with Mrs. Duhamel, as Fergie’s dinnertime ensemble was accessorized beautifully with a stunning vintage diamond flower hairpiece, a large cluster right hand ring and multiple layerings of pearl strands and gold-accented chains. The chain gang also included Nicky Hilton and a very pregnant Stefanie Fair.

The layered chain look is nothing new – the trend made it’s first appearance last summer, littered the fall fashion runways and has hung in there on the red carpets well into awards season. Marisa Tomei layered her links at the Golden Globes and a pants-suited Jennifer Aniston wore a series of gold chains at the premiere of He’s Just Not That Into You a few days back.

And layering chains is something we mere mortals can incorporate into our own wardrobes. Long pearl strands, chunky chain links, colored beads – anything goes. And while the current trend is to wear ‘everything but the kitchen sink’, it’s probably best to exercise a bit of restraint. Channeling Mr. T is not a good look. For anyone.

So when you get a break from that rocket science gig or a respite from solving our environmental crisis – remember to take a cue from Fergie and friends and layer up those chains for your next night on the town. Or Vanity Fair-sponsored dinner.

The Jewelry Insider

August 26, 2008

Pearl strands have always been in style. Coco Chanel made them chic in the 20s, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O took them to new heights in the 60s, Madonna and Barbara Bush put their stamp on them in the 80s, and now Michelle Obama is carrying the torch well into the new millennium. They are the perfect Mother’s Day gift and are always the right choice to wear at the office. And while the popular bauble comes in many different varieties and price points, luxury jewelry designer, Mikimoto, is taking them to 11.

A one-of-a-kind, limited edition, pearl strand is now available for a mere $1,000,000. Some lucky gal will get to take home 27 perfectly cultured pearls, plus an art deco clasp with 11.92 carats of diamonds. According to Mikimoto, the necklace is special because it is made from South Sea pearls of the highest quality that took ten years to cultivate. They’re rated AAA, which means they have a superb silver white luster.

For those of us who can’t afford a bodyguard to go with our jewelry, there are many other affordable alternatives. And some designers are mixing up the traditional strand by adding chunky beads and crystals. Think ‘pearls go punk’. One final pearl of wisdom: long, layered strands are a must-have look for fall. Mixing colors and lengths is perfectly acceptable.

We may not have a million bucks, but we can certainly look like we do. Go out there and make Coco proud!